How one couple is traveling the world on $23 per day

Averaging $23 per person per day in 2014, Salem and Bradford are the epitome of budget backpackers.  Writing about their adventures on popular website, NOMADasaurus.


Nearly two years into an epic journey that will take Jarryd Salem and Alesha Bradford overland from Thailand to South Africa, the Australian couple knows how to make their dollars stretch on the road.


Averaging $23 per person per day in 2014, Salem and Bradford are the epitome of budget backpackers.  Writing about their adventures on popular website, NOMADasaurus, Forbes caught up with the bloggers to learn their tips on traveling long-term without breaking the bank.

1. Don’t be afraid to modify your budget.

“When we got to South East Asia, we realized we were hugely over budget,” said Salem. The couple had allocated $27.00 per day for 2014 but lowered that figure when they arrived in Thailand, as they realized that they could make do on much less.

“It is one thing to read blogs or other people’s stories. If you haven’t traveled before, you might realize you like to travel differently,” says  Salem, who says that a budget can also grow, if you realize you don’t like using public transportation or or living in dorms.

2. Hostels are not always the cheapest option.

Traveling as a couple in South East Asia and Central America, the Australian duo found that oftentimes renting a room in a guest house was cheaper than if they each paid for a bed in a hostel. Not only did they save money, but staying at a guest house meant cleaner rooms, WiFi and hot water: the holy grail of backpackers.

They also found good deals on websites like Airbnb or at local bed and breakfasts.

3. Bargain for a bed. 

Want to stay somewhere for more than a few week? The couple recommends approaching your hostel or guest house owner to see if they can cut you a better deal.

Staying in a room in an apartment is another way to cut down on costs, especially in bigger cities like Hanoi or Bangkok. They used Facebook FB +3.37% groups, Craigslist or websites like Gumtree to find accommodation, but also recommend being in the city before committing to renting a room. It can be easier to hear of great deals from fellow travelers or see rooms for rent on notice boards.

4. When budgeting get tough, write down every expense. 

Currently in Tajikistan and staying in a “filthy” hostel, the Salem admits that it can be overwhelming to always be scrimping. His advice for when budgeting seems interminable? Write it down. It helps to keep the focus on the bigger goal of traveling around the world.

5. Consider the overall cost of a region.

Acknowledging that their $23 a day budget would not be possible in many North American or European countries, Jarryd recommends Asia and Latin America as regions for the extremely budget conscious.

6. Say no to the booze.

Traveling on a minimal budget does not mean forgoing high-ticket items like scuba diving, trekking or spelunking, activities that Salem and Bradford enjoy immensely. But it does mean tightening the belt when it comes to daily indulgences, like eating out or drinking.


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